My 2018 “Birds of the Bay” Calendar is Out Now!

I put together a calendar of some of my best bird photos from around the Bay Area, and it’s available now over at MagCloud.

If you live in or around Berkeley, I have a few for sale at Your Basic Bird, so you can pick one up there as well.

This is super exciting for me. I have been wanting to make a calendar for years now, and I finally went ahead and did it. I was very happy with the way it came out, and I look forward to making this an annual tradition.

Lake Merritt and the Rotary Nature Center

Right smack in the middle of Oakland, Lake Merritt is the oldest wildlife refuge in North America, but to most of the people walking by, it is just another city park. In fact, Lake Merritt was designated as a wildlife refuge in 1870, and is home to a vast array of wildlife, including dozens of species of birds, fish, shrimp, clams, mussels, and crabs. The lake is actually a tidal lagoon, fed by the San Francisco Bay to the west, and several creeks coming down from the Oakland hills to the east.

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The Solar Eclipse was Clouded Out in the Bay Area 

Eclipse watchers in the Bay Area, myself included, were disappointed this morning to wake up to cloudy skies. We knew this was a likely possibility, but we hoped that the usual morning fog would clear away in time to see the eclipse. As late as Sunday night, people were still looking for eclipse glasses, and stores were sold out. But those glasses were not needed after all. For most of the Bay Area, the clouds stayed stubbornly in place for the entire eclipse event.

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Lundy Ghost Town (Fall of 2003) (Film Scans)

Once again, I’m going through some old negatives and scanning them. This time, I came across photos from a hike that I did to Lundy Mine and ghost town, in the Eastern Sierra Nevada here in California. The date was sometime in the fall of 2003, either late September or early October. I was living and working in Yosemite National Park, and into ghost towns at the time, and someone told me about an abandoned mining town above Lundy lake.

Lundy lake is easy enough to find. Just North of Lee Vining on I395, there is a road that takes you straight to it. My girlfriend and I drove out there at some point in the summer with high hopes of finding a little-known ghost town, just a short drive away from the much more popular Bodie. But that first time, we went home mostly disappointed. There is a campground on the far side, and trails that lead up into the valley. We found the moldering remains of homes, rusted out cars, stoves, that kind of thing. We saw evidence of beavers living in the creek but no evidence of the mining town. The campground attendant didn’t seem to know anything about a mining town either. We assumed that if the ghost town existed, it was either much farther up the valley, or had simply decayed to nothing. As we drove away, we happened to spot a trail leading up the mountain on the other side of the lake, and we knew that was the trail we should have taken.

A month or so later, we came back, ready for a much harder hike. The first mile was the hardest; straight up with no tree cover at all. Then we came to a little wooded valley with a creek running through it, and the going got easier. It was about three miles of uphill hiking, though, before we reached the ghost town. There is not much left of Lundy ghost town anymore, but what is there is fascinating.

I took the above photos with a Nikon F series SLR. I remember that I did have a Lomo with me as well, so I might have more photos to publish in the future. As you can see from the pictures, the largest artifact remaining is the mine railway, and a tunnel going into the side of the mountain. We did see one other building down in the valley, but it was too far off of the trail, and we had gotten started too late in the day to investigate. Indeed, while we were there, the sun was beginning to set. We had just enough time to hike up to nearby Oneida Lake before heading back.

I had planned on returning to Lundy one day, and perhaps I will.

California Poppies

I recently went on a photo walk down at Point Isabel in Richmond. Spring was in the air, and I decided that I wanted to take pictures of California Poppies. This time of year, these iconic flowers are blooming everywhere. To be honest, flowers are not my favorite subject to shoot, but sometimes I just need to try something new. This is how we learn new things.

Even though I don’t feel that these are great flower photos, it was still fun. I took these photos along Hoffman Marsh at Point Isabel Regional Shoreline in Richmond, CA.

Strangely, I felt that the standout image from this shoot was the one of a white morning glory:

SF Bay Trail At San Leandro Bay

The San Francisco Bay Trail at San Leandro Bay is a surprisingly scenic short hike in Oakland, California. San Leandro Bay itself is a small bay between Alameda Island, Bayfarm Island, and Oakland. There are several creeks draining into the bay here, including Lion Creek and San Leandro Creek. This creates a rich but delicate ecosystem. The mudflats are important feeding grounds for shore birds, and at low tide you will see lots of them way out in the distance. At high tide, the shore birds will be huddled closer to the shore, where you can see them better, but please don’t disturb them or let your dog chase them.

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